Ukraine urged the International Court of Justice to impose reparations on Russia for its “war of annihilation”

Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Korynevych, and the Director General of International Law of the Ministry, Oksana Zolotaryova, attend a hearing in The Hague (Reuters) (PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW/)

Ukraine stated this Tuesday that the international Court of Justice must impose reparations to Russia for its “war of annihilation”arguing that international law itself is at stake.

Russia is not above the law. Must be held accountable”the main Ukrainian speaker, Anton Korynevych, told the court, sitting just meters from his Russian opponents in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

“You have the power to declare that Russia’s actions are illegal, that its continued abuses must stop, that its orders must be carried out, and that Russia must make reparation,” he told the judges.

Ukraine took Russia to the ICJ just days after the February 24, 2022, invasion, seeking to combat its belligerent neighbor on all fronts, legal, diplomatic and military.

Kiev’s argument is that Russian President Vladimir Putin invoked an alleged “genocide” against pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine as one of the reasons for Moscow to invade its neighbor. This, according to Ukraine, is a misuse of the United Nations Genocide Convention, established in 1948 and signed by both kyiv and Moscow.

“In our moment of greatest danger, Ukraine came to this court. “Your court has broad jurisdiction over litigation related to the Genocide Convention,” Korynevych argued.

Can it really be the case that a state can abuse the Genocide Convention to justify a war of conquest?”Korynevych asked. “It must be ‘no’ for the good of the world, to prevent international law from being distorted and becoming a tool for the abuse and destruction of human rights.”he added.

The Ukrainian representatives argued that the Court is competent for the case (Reuters)
The Ukrainian representatives argued that the Court is competent for the case (Reuters) (POOL/)

In a preliminary ruling in March last year, the ICJ sided with Ukraine and ordered Russia to immediately stop its invasion.

But Russia opposed this rulingclaiming that the ICJ had no legal right to decide in this case.

“Russia’s challenge is also an attack on the authority of this court. Every missile that Russia fires at our cities, it does so in defiance of this court”Korynevych declared.

An irremediable failure

The audiences that are being celebrated in the Peace Palace revolve around whether or not the ICJ is competent.

Russia’s legal team argued Monday that the case should be dismissed.

If kyiv denies the existence of a genocide in eastern Ukraine, why is the court even considering a case under the Genocide Convention?

Mere “statements” about genocide are not admissible under international law, including the Genocide Convention, Russia’s top representative Gennady Kuzmin said on Monday. Ukraine’s legal position is “hopelessly flawed” and “contradictory to the long-standing jurisprudence” of the Court, he concluded.

He also accused the Kiev “regime” of being “firmly rooted in the history, doctrines and practices of Nazism,” comments that were taken advantage of by the Ukrainian envoy.

The (Russian) agent had the audacity to appear in this court and say that Ukraine was planning ‘final solutions’. We all know what those chilling words mean.. “How can Russia’s agent utter those words and then deny that there is a dispute about genocide?” Korynevych said.

In addition to the two belligerent countries, 32 allies of Ukraine will also take the floor on Wednesday to defend Kiev.

The ICJ was created to resolve disputes between countries, but it is not known for the speed of its work. It will likely take months for the court to decide whether it can hear the case.

His rulings are binding, although he has no way of enforcing them.

(With information from AFP)